Washington, DC—Representatives of the three national credit reporting agencies (CRAs) provided consumers no answers for how they were going to make the credit reporting system more responsive at a House Financial Services Committee hearing prompted by an unprecedented surge in consumer complaints.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion were called to testify after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report showing consumer complaints about the credit reporting industry more than doubled in 2020. As they have done for months, the CRAs tried to deflect responsibility for the surge in consumer complaints by blaming AACCP members and other organizations offering credit repair services. When asked about these allegations, however, a CFPB spokesman recently made clear that the CRAs:
“…have provided no credible evidence that the increase is the result of unauthorized submissions by credit repair organizations.”
The CRAs’ attempt to escape accountability did not go unnoticed at Wednesday’s hearing. In her testimony on behalf of the National Consumer Law Center, Chi Chi Wu succinctly addressed the CRAs defense:
“And, no, this explosion in complaints isn’t just credit repair outfits challenging accurate information. The CFPB has said there’s no evidence of that. The credit bureaus have been blaming credit repair for decades. It’s the same old, same old.”
Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters pointedly asked, “What have [the CRAs] done to rectify that to lessen the number of mistakes that you make because this is what’s harming our consumers?” Tellingly, none of the representatives of the CRAs offered anything new to address these pervasive mistakes, either to Representative Waters or at any time during the hearing. And it’s not as if this is a new problem; consumer complaints to the CFPB about credit reporting were the highest in the three previous years as well.
After the hearing, Liz Shrum, a senior advisor to the AACCP, called on the credit reporting industry to stop deflecting and to start taking their responsibility to protect consumers seriously:
“At the hearing, the CRAs made no effort to explain why 58 percent of all consumer complaints to the CFPB in 2020 related to just three companies— Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Worse yet, the CRAs made clear that, as far as they are concerned, there is nothing wrong with the consumer credit reporting industry, even though an estimated one in five Americans has an error on one of their credit reports.”